It’s easy to think that farm-grown vegetables are the only option for nutritious produce. Well here’s something else to consider. The next time you go to your local grocery or health food store, ask to check out these superfoods you might be missing: sea vegetables.
Sea vegetables and seaweed are very similar. They are both forms of marine plants or algae that grow in oceans around the world. They typically have a brown, red, purple, or green coloring to them. You won’t find sea vegetables in freshwater lakes and rivers, though. Sea vegetables can only grow in the ocean. And sea vegetables and seaweed can be grown organically! However, the main difference between the two is that sea vegetables are mainly harvested for human consumption, whereas seaweed is an all-encompassing name for certain non-edible and some edible microalgae (for the most part).
What are Sea Vegetables?
Sea vegetables are edible plants or algae that grow in or close to the ocean. They are found in oceans with both cold and warm temperatures. They have a mild salty flavor and have been a food staple in many Asian countries for years. These superfoods can be found as powders, tablets, and dehydrated flakes in addition to their raw form.
Sea vegetables can also be added to your daily diet very easily. They can be used as a seasoning or added to salads, soups, stews, and wraps. They can even be eaten in their rehydrated form (to rehydrate, place in water for 5 to 10 minutes until soft. Then, add the softened vegetable to salads or stir-fries). They are low in fat and rich in fiber, and they contain a blend of essential vitamins and minerals.
Are Sea Vegetables Healthy?
Sea vegetables contain a variety of important vitamins and minerals that promote good health. They are also a beneficial source of fiber, protein, and fatty acids. They have high levels of calcium and iron. It has been found that these superfoods contain levels of magnesium that help with blood pressure and cardiovascular health, folic acid that helps prevent birth defects, and nutrients that can reduce the spread of cancer cells. Superfoods like sea vegetables are amazing additions to a diet when looking to get more healthy or even reduce the effects of aging. They are a good addition to your Age Management practices.
How to Work Into a Daily Diet
It is said that 4-5 servings of sea vegetables per week is optimal. Serving size will depend on the variety or form of the vegetable. It may be dry flakes, seasonings, or tablets added to a drink. One of the easiest ways to work sea vegetables into your diet is in powdered or tablet form. Mix them in a glass of water or add them to a smoothie. They are also easy to add to other meals like soups or stews. However, if you are feeling adventurous, add them to your salad or stir-fried meal. Some of these sea vegetables have stronger tastes than others so try a variety of them and decide which one you like best!
Common Types of Sea Vegetables:
Known as “seaweed,” kelp is a large leafy brown type of algae. There are many species of kelp and they are often found close to the shore. You might have even seen this type of seaweed wrapped around your legs while wading in the ocean. This sea vegetable makes a great addition to salads, soups, and stir-fries.
Nori is a deep purple or sometimes red sea vegetable. It is found in thin, dry sheets often holding your sushi rolls together. It can be crumpled up and added to salad or soup. It can also be enjoyed as a quick snack.
Dulse resembles purple or deep red leafy lettuce. It is found in whole leaf flakes, strips, or in a powdered form. This sea vegetable can be added to soups and stews to give them a subtle, salty flavor. It is a great seasoning and rumor has it… it tastes like bacon!
Wakame is found in a dehydrated form. Just simply rehydrate it by soaking it in water and using it as a great addition to any salad. Also known as sea mustard, it has a silky smooth texture and umami flavor with a slight sweetness. It is commonly found in miso soup.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae known to be one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. What makes spirulina a more unique nutrient is it actually grows in fresh water, not in the ocean. It was given to astronauts because it is so nutrient-rich! Typically found in a powder or tablet form, there’s over 1 gram of protein per teaspoon.
Arame is a brown algae that is processed, dried out, and then packaged. It is often dark and brittle in appearance. You can often find arame acting as a seasoning in soups and stews. When added to a soup or stew, the warm liquid will reconstitute or rehydrate the arame. It will add a slight saltiness and delicious flavor to the dish.
Importance of Organic
When purchasing, keep in mind the importance of buying certified organic sea vegetables. Whether you are purchasing fresh, dried, tablet, or powdered, look for the certified organic label. Sea vegetables are naturally absorbent like all other plants in the oceans and they will absorb the good as well as bad in their surroundings. They may pick up contaminants and heavy metals. Many parts of the oceans around us are full of harmful contaminants. So buying organic sea vegetables might give you peace of mind. The organic sea vegetables are grown in controlled environments and harvested in clean water.
Time for Sea Vegetables?
So if these superfoods are missing from your kitchen, why not give them a try? They are rich in vitamins and minerals and they can be a healthy source of these when eaten. Plus, these slightly salty treats can add flavor to so many snacks and meals. Again, try them in your soups, stews, and salads. They can also be mixed into smoothies or a glass of water. You can even stir fry them with some of your other favorite vegetables. So the next time you go to the grocery store or fresh food market, check out these amazing superfoods: Sea Vegetables!